Healing through Stories: A Latinx Heritage Month Reading List from Tia Chucha Press and Bookstore
This Latinx Heritage Month, PEN America is proud to collaborate on a reading list with Tia Chucha Press and Bookstore. Tia Chucha Press is one of the country’s leading small cross-cultural presses, focused on socially engaged poetry and literature that matters, beginning in 1989 with the publication of Luis J. Rodriguez’s first book, Poems Across the Pavement. Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, based in California’s Northeast San Fernando Valley, provides free or low-cost arts and literacy bilingual intergenerational programming, while Tia Chucha’s independent bookstore sells culturally diverse books and produces literary events.
As this reading list centers the work of writers who are of Chicanx and Indigenous heritage, it is by no means meant to be exhaustive or representative of the contributions of writers of Latinx and Hispanic heritage at large. This list also includes, in the spirit of solidarity, works by writers from other marginalized communities. Another common thread that unites these books is that they present the possibility of healing, renewal, and resistance in their stories and calls to action.
We encourage you to check these titles out by purchasing them from Tia Chucha directly, or from an independent bookstore near you.
Titles from Tia Chucha Press
The tamale recipe in this book is a testament to the power of our culture and traditions. This collection shares a direct message from prisoners that changes the narrative on mass incarceration, and celebrates the healing act of writing.
Now in its second printing, this book is the first collection to showcase the voices of Central American writers living in the United States. The readers learn the narrative directly from their point of view.
This anthology features the vitality and variety of verse in the City of Angels, a city of poets. Featuring over 150 Los Angeles-area poets, the collection encompasses the many experiences and inequities of life in Los Angeles. The image of the coiled serpent appears in various forms in mythologies throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, India, and America. In pre-conquest times, Quetzalcoatl—the Precious Serpent—served as a personification of earth-bound wisdom, the arts and eldership in so-called Meso-America, one of seven “cradles of civilization” that also includes China, Nigeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Peru.
A collection from the youth at Our Little Roses, an orphanage in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This book has essays by Marie Reece and Luis J. Rodríguez and a foreword and afterword by poets Marie Howe and Richard Blanco. Luis and his wife Trini, a poet, teacher, and indigenous healer, also helped teach at Our Little Roses and the Holy Family Bilingual School inside a walled compound in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The poetry and stories of these young writers transcends the pain of loss that often goes unexpressed. The proceeds from the book go directly to the orphanage.
A beautiful, full-color collection of original art and song lyrics by Louie Perez, a founding member of the band Los Lobos, the East LA band that was central to the Chicano Rock/East LA rock and roll scene once the Chicanx Movement began.
Books from Other Publishers
This book is a poetic response to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. There are 43 poems for each of the 43 articles within the declaration. Each author wrote a response for each article.
This book tells the story of how and why the Black Lives Matter movement started. A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America—and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free.
This book is about balancing all aspects of love and the necessity of cultivating love in our relationships with family, friends, partners, and ourselves in order to feel and become more whole. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, bell hooks provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for the individuals and for a nation.
The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano by Juan Cardenas (Swan World Press, 2020)
This book is a direct Chicanx Immigrant narrative that people need to hear. It explores how a young boy grew up after crossing the U.S./Mexico border, and his journey of belonging.
Voices from the Ancestors brings together the reflective writings and spiritual practices of Chicanx, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx womxn and male allies in the United States who seek to heal from the historical traumas of colonization by returning to ancestral traditions and knowledge.
Chicanxs form a majority of the Latino population in the United States. In this collection, established and emerging Chicanx researchers offer their perspectives on the experiences of Chicanxs in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest, diverging from the discipline’s traditional focus on the Southwest. The multidisciplinary works presented here address colonialism, gender, history, immigration, labor, literature, sociology, education, and religion, establishing El Movimiento (the Chicanx movement) and the Chicanx experience in the context of how generations of Chicanxs have faced the challenges of racism, marginalization, and isolation in the northern borderlands.